The Christ the Center panel had the distinct privilege of recently interviewing Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin, professor of church history and Biblical spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, about the importance of studying the early church fathers and reading them as the Protestant Reformers did. Dr. Haykin notes that Evangelicals are not known for their familiarity with the church fathers as they are often seen as the provenance of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox scholars and theologians. But this would be wrong and would in fact be a declension. For instance the Reformers widely read the fathers as senior conversation partners in the interpretation of Scripture and in the exposition of theology. John Calvin, for instance, quoted from such fathers as the great Augustine and learned some of his preaching method from John Chrysostom. The contemporary church owes a deep debt of gratitude to the early church fathers, who wrestled with such significant matters as the doctrine of the Trinity, the two natures of Christ, and the full deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Dr. Haykin notes that unlike Scripture, the fathers are not inerrant and so must be read and wrestled with, with discernment. Dr. Haykin is also a respected Jonathan Edwards scholar and has written or edited numerous articles and books, including: The Christian Lover, The Advent of Evangelicalism, Jonathan Edwards: The Holy Spirit in Revival, The Revived Puritan: The Spirituality of George Whitefield, The Spirit of God: The Exegesis of 1 and 2 Corinthians in the Pneumatomachian Controversy of the Fourth Century, and the three volume British Particular Baptists. This is a must hear interview that will only deepen oneâs theological understanding of the Reformed faith.
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